February 2004

February 3, 2004

18 degrees at 7am. A sunny but chilly day. Gas is $1.67 in the Acres.

The founder and former president of Springfield Technical Community College, Dr. Edmond P. Garvey, died February 24, 1991. He was born in Wilbraham and was a life-long resident of Springfield. In 1940 he taught at Springfield Trade High School.

Uncle George A. Giroux died August 23, 1966. He was born December 13, 1905 in Springfield. His father Eugene was a blacksmith born in 1873 and buried in Saint Michael's Cemetery. In 1938 Uncle George moved to 175 Poplar Street in the Feeding Hills section of Agawam, at that time way out in the country. He ran the Giroux Machine Company until 1962, serving regular customers like Savage Arms, A.G. Spaulding, Springfield Wire, Van Norman and Pratt & Whitney.

Eamon called and said Jim Landers made him a chocolate cake with white vanilla frosting. He says Lander's garage houses a Heidelberg press and a special paper cutter. He suggests I should stop by and see Lander's place sometime. City Clerk Metzger told Eamon that still-borns are not recorded. A baby has to live at least five minutes to get their birth listed in the city records.

Eamon told me he spent the day reading a new book by Tux Sullivan, Ireland: Smiling Through Tears. Tux is the brother of Eamon's father and Danny Sullivan, who was the personnel manager at the Boesh and Canteen. Eamon's father died early because while working at Fisk he was in a hit and run accident and lost a lung. Tux Sullivan has made twelve trips to Ireland and has been to the Blaskett Islands where Eamon's people are from, which is two and a half miles from the Irish coast! I've tried to get Eamon to write about his family but he won't. Eamon said Mayor Ryan is treating him as if he has taken for granted all that Eamon has done for him over the years, bitterly referring to the saying "Eaten bread is soon forgotten."

There is a Superbowl balloon bouquet flying above Colleen's mailbox.

I called Tassinari binders and spoke with Brian. He doesn't know when my books will be done. Called Larry McDermott at the paper and left a message praising him for the recent improvement in their coverage. I told him I always give credit where credit is due, but when you don't do the right thing you know what will happen.

I went over to East Longmeadow for the ungrand opening of their not quite finished new Public Library. No refreshments were served nor freebies offered. It is an interesting building with private areas where you can get away from it all. I told a librarian that they should have more potted plants. I also remarked that there was no bulletin boards and they should have at least two - one by the main door and another in the youth area. Their magazine section is skimpy. Sy Becker was there doing TV interviews and tonight I saw myself in the background putting a book away in my knit hat and motorcycle jacket.

After I left the library I went to the Coin Exchange and paid $35 for a 1902 Springfield medallion. I saw that Fancy That, which was in the antiques building at the corner of White and Sumner has moved to 887 Sumner by the railroad tracks in the former gas station.

The old location is for rent and I recognized the number to call as that of Mary Boland, the widow of the congressman. When I got home I dialed it, and sure enough there was Mary's voice on the tape and I left a message asking her if she received the photos I sent her of the dedication of her husband's statue and to call me if she did not. Later when I told Eamon about it he said that if she calls back I should ask her about the $350,000 commission she received for transferring the Tapley Street P.O. building to the Department of Public Works. I said of course I would not - it is rude to ask a lady a question you know in advance she will not answer.

February 5, 2004

34 degrees in the morning. Two inches of crusty snow last night. Gas in the Acres $1.59.

Kerry won big, Clarke got Oklahoma, Methodist country. Kerry is a machine Catholic Democrat with whom I have some sympathies. Anybody is better than Bush. Joe Lieberman, a fine gentleman, has bowed out.

Two pharmacies raided yesterday, Spring Street and Shoppers Drug on Fort Pleasant Street, for investigation into Medicare fraud. Cummings Memorial is to be used as an alternative homeless shelter for men when it gets to 10 degrees or below. There is a leak in the 16 Acres Greenleaf Community Center that will cost $50,000 to fix. Why do they put flat roofs on everything and then fail to maintain them?

Cooked up a Bosenberry pie. Karen of Punderson Oil called and rang only four times (hoping I wouldn't answer maybe, then they could say they were trying to reach me) but I called right back and they told me they "had some cancellations" and wondered if they could come over and clean my furnace earlier than scheduled. I said fine and then went out to shovel the snow in the driveway.

At 11:50 a young, slim, personable black person named Ken who spoke perfect English arrived from Punderson. He said he missed lunch so I offered him a bottle (unopened) of Oceanspray Cranberry Juice but he politely declined. He told me he went to Putnam High School and wanted to get into auto repair but it was all filled up, so he had to take oil burner repair which was his third choice (his second choice, printing, was also filled). Now he's glad for how it worked out because he has steady work at good pay without having to work as hard as an auto repairman. When he left he said my furnace "should last forever."

The day was winding down when the phone rang and it was Roger S. Manahan of the Gilman Health Sciences Library in Mercy Hospital on Carew Street. He said he had the William Blackwell book I wanted so I said I'd be over there in an hour.

As it was I got there sooner. The security people at the hospital front desk didn't know who Manahan was or where the library was, but finally someone led me to a section at the back of the main floor. The library is a tiny room, the whole complex no larger than the size of a small house. The far end has a framed engraving of the College of Surgeons from the 1700's. Manahan is one of those fat Irishmen you expect to find in political sinecures. He had a big Irish smile and was cordial in every way. He gave me the book and I gave him a copy of the John & Blanche Fernbank booklet inscribed to him from me. I told him he got exactly the book I wanted and he replied that getting people exactly what they want makes his day. On the way home I cruised past Eamon's and I saw that his lights were on.

Got some boxes at the liquor store, then on to the AIC library where I used the microfilm reader to access my lawsuit about Robert Garde. There are many details that I have forgotten. Mr. Utley the head librarian was leaving at the same time as me so I paused and saluted him as he walked past. He thanked me smiling.

February 7, 2004

31 degrees, a half inch of snow. Gas $1.65 at the Pond.

You need creativity, co-operation, courage plus communication and commitment to effect constructive change. - Eamon T. O'Sullivan

Kerry won Michigan and Washington State. Worcester has more famous poets in its history than Springfield does. Normand S. Loveland, a Springfield College alumnus from the class of 1924, and his wife Ruth, were the primary donors to the College's Loveland Center, dedicated in 1981.

Jack Hess called and thanked me for the Giroux material I sent him. Because he is a meticulously polite gentleman Hess said he'll "reciprocate" but I said it was unnecessary. He told me how Efrem Gordon once had a house on the corner of the intersection in downtown Hampden.

I called Virginia Shaw, Aunt Maria's niece, at 19 Carroll Drive in Westfield and found her polite but also bitter and ungracious. She said she visited Aunt Maria while Shirley Huang was there and claimed she made negative comments about me, that Aunt Maria "did not want you in her presence." Virginia described herself as "a person of little means" and accused me of "gloating that you got all that money." She added that "if you want to make a contribution to 19 Carroll Drive that would be wonderful." Virginia accused me of trying to make her jealous before hanging up on me. Phillip Giroux of Hampden is not in the phone book. I have given up on trying to reach the Giroux relatives.

Took a large can of Franco-American spagetti and added a half pound of hamburg, tomato soup, crushed tomatoes and a large quantity of pepper and onions. Then I dropped by to visit Fancy That in their new home. Hubby says Mary Boland was charging them $1800 a month so they decided to buy the former gas station at the corner of Dorset and Sumner. He said they are now paying $700 per month on their mortgage and getting $550 in rent from Atlantic Exterminating in the same building. As I left I said give my regards to the Mrs.

Then I stopped at 471-479 Boston Road, the Smiley's Variety strip mall where the little porn shop used to be. It no longer exists, and the partition has been taken down to create a combo convenience store, liquor shop which is also a KENO dive offering cheap bagged snacks. There were three people there playing. In the same strip is Holyoke Nails, Jen's Cutting Edge hairshop and a vacant space. Then I continued out to Stop & Shop where I cleaned up on dented cans. Maybe late Saturday is a good time to get dented cans and discarded veggies.

The paper says it will cost $81 million to fix Putnam High and Mayor Ryan says we haven't got the money. He said Springfield is $400 million in debt with a $35 million cost in debt service each year.

According to Eamon, Brian King, the brother of the newspaper editor, is now an old man selling suits at Yale-Genton. Eamon's phone call identifier shows that a Raymond L. Warren, listed as the Enfield Director of Economic Development, calls every few days to listen to his messages. Eamon recalled that his mother was cantankerous so none of the relatives would look after her, but when she died they all asked if there was any money. He also recalled that when he worked at the Health Department he often had morning coffee with Dr. Ayres and Dr. Michael O'Connor. He described those times as "wonderful years."

Eamon went with Antonette Pepe to tour Putnam High for three hours last Tuesday. Eamon said the wife of School Committeeman Ken Shea is some kind of guidance councilor there and Eamon wonders whether it is a violation of policy to have a school committee person's relative working for the school system. He says Munson's murals are still hanging in the cafeteria with a big mural elsewhere of Ed Garvey in his naval uniform.

Eamon claims that former Principal Ann Southworth was actually a failure at Putnam, not the success she was made out to be in the media. Bill Goodwin is the new principal. He reluctantly admitted to Eamon that there are no job descriptions for the principal or for the five vice-principals working under him. Eamon said he pounded Goodwin with question after question. He asked how often he sees Superintendent Burke and Goodwin replied that Burke had "been here a few times, but not in the past few months." When pressed for more information about Burke, Goodwin pleaded, "I don't know if I want to answer those questions, he's my boss!"

Eamon asked how many grade levels behind Putnam students are and he said three. Goodwin explained that former Superintendent Negroni had eliminated student retention in 1991, replacing it with social promotions designed to protect the student's self-esteem. Of course once the students knew it was impossible to fail they lost all incentive to work. Eamon asked if it was true that 50% of the students who entered Putnam in 9th grade don't graduate, to which Goodwin replied that it was "close to that number." Eamon told Goodwin that John Silber of Boston College once told him that he considered the public education system to be so far gone that it was beyond the point of no return. On their way out Principal Goodwin shook Eamon's hand and said, "Mr. O'Sullivan, I like your style."

February 10, 2004

25 degrees at 7:30 this morning. Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the Beatles arriving in America.

John Kerry beat John Dean in the Maine primary by a wide margin. Kerry also won in Virginia and Tennessee. Former Mayor Albano is on a six city tour promoting the legalization of prescription drugs from Canada that will include stops in Providence, Seattle and San Antonio.

Yolande Croteau and Jeanette Rivet, both of 439 Union Street in Springfield, are organizing a trip to see "The Passion Play 2004" in Union City, New Jersey in April. Citizens Bank is located at 1600 Boston Road. This morning a tractor trailer truck got stuck beneath the Parker Street railroad crossing over Indian Orchard way. That has happened before, the problem is that the sign says the clearance is so many feet but there is a grade down to the underpass and a grade up from the underpass so for a long truck the effective clearance is much less.

Steve Hays, the Executive Director of The Drama Studio Inc. was featured in the Local Spotlight section of the paper. Hays is the power behind the Boar's Head Festival at Trinity Church. I visited his home once on a house tour and I think well of him although I don't really know him. I am not involved with Trinity nor shall I be. In the People Profile Plus section Dr. K. Knowlton Utley, Director of the James J. Shea Library at AIC is featured. He is a tall, gentle, good natured man who is very competent and deserving of notice. Bishop Dupre of the Diocese of Springfield has an editorial in the Massachusetts Catholic Conference bulletin against gay marriage. St Joseph's sometimes refers to itself as St. Joseph. Which is it?

New strip clubs and pornography shops will be temporarily banned by a City Council vote recently. It was the result of a petition by Karen A. Powell of Mohawk Drive and Raymond N. Tuller of Chalmes Street. Downtown strip clubs are the Mardi Gras, Club 418, Teddy B's, Xstatic and the Fifth Alarm. I called Karen Powell and left a message urging her to vote for Efrem Gordon as best lawyer in the Valley Advocate "Best of" balloting.

I went to check on Fernbank, the land I'm donating to Wilbraham. On the way I saw that there is a new house going up on the corner of Wilbraham Road and Aberdale. Work on Fernbank has been suspended due to the snow. Donna Mickiewicz who lives in the red cottage on the other side of the bridge was out and we chatted for a bit. She said she likes to watch the wildlife on the river, which is now frozen over. She told me she has a degree in sociology from AIC and that her son Jerry majored in computers at WNEC. She said someone offered her $100,000 for her house, which she has lived in since 1973.

James H. Denver of Springfield has died at 77. He is the father of Russell Denver of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. I called Russell and offered my condolences and we had a short, pleasant conversation. Last night TV40 told about a stabbing involving three students at Hartford's Weaver High. I called the station and got Jamie and told her to tell Dave Madsen to forget about Hartford and tell us about the violence at Commerce and throughout the Springfield School System. She thanked me.

Eamon was up to the VA for dental work today. Eamon predicts there will be more scandals developing involving the Springfield Housing Authority and Hungry Hill Development Corporation. Karen Powell told him she is "pissed-off" about all the establishment types being appointed to positions by Mayor Ryan. She thinks that Rep. Cheryl Rivera has too much influence. Eamon says that supporters are being passed over, and gave as an example Bob Powell who he said "busted his ass for Charlie." Antonette Pepe told Eamon she saw Luisa Cardaropoli and R. Bruce Fitzgerald together in City Hall the other night. When Pepe later pointed out to Fitzgerald that she is under investigation Fitzgerald replied, "Oh, I didn't know that." Eamon claims Cardaropoli and Atty. Laura Merino are both "persons of interest" in the ongoing corruption probes.

February 11, 2004

37 degrees at 7am, faint snow flurries as I drove by Oak Grove Cemetery.

Big demonstration in Boston today against gay marriage. One protest sign shown on the news said, "God Created Adam and Eve, Not Adam and Steve." Rita Coppola Wallace of the Park Department was on TV22 explaining that the lights are on all night at King Phillips Stockade as a safety measure while renovations are going on.

This afternoon I attended the stockholders meeting of United Co-operative Bank at Peter Picknelly's Sheraton Hotel at One Monarch Place downtown. I arrived at the municipal parking garage under the I-91 overpass at 7:56am. I went inside where Picknelly's silver Rolls Royce is still on display in the hotel lobby. Hideous modern art is on the walls and the little bar along the lobby was closed. Through the blinds in the window of one of the rooms I saw Picknelly's son holding a meeting.

I spotted Jack Briggs of Longmeadow and introduced myself. He said he'd heard the name J. Wesley Miller before but couldn't recall where. I told him that Ben Jones had hired me to inventory the Monarch archives, and then he remembered who I was. We had a nice chat and I promised to send him some postcards. Judy Matt came along and said hello in a pleasant way. They served coffee and a generous spread of bagels and pastry.

I also met the bank president Richard B. Collins. A tall, pleasant man I told him that I like the interior decorating of his bank branches, but that his bank should pay higher interest. The meeting itself was quite dull, except when Atty. Peter J. Stass of Westfield politely complained that most of the recent changes at the bank do nothing for stockholders. When they asked at the end if there were any final suggestions, I stood up and suggested that they serve sausage and eggs at next year's meeting, which made everyone laugh. Arrived home at 10:33am.

By late afternoon the word was out that Bishop Thomas L. Dupre had resigned after being confronted with sex abuse allegations. Rev. James Scahill had tried to warn Archbishop Sean O'Malley of Boston about Dupre but O'Malley never returned his calls. In 2002 Dupre denied that an Amherst priest's ouster was retribution for the priest calling the police to report that the Rev. Richard Lavigne was spotted lurking around the church grounds. In 2003 Dupre was accused of making statements at a cleric's conference suggesting that the personnel records of Father Lavigne from the 1970's had been purposely destroyed. Monsignor Richard S. Sniezyk will run the diocese until an acting administrator is chosen. John Egan, the diocese's chief legal counsel had no comment. Friends described Bishop Dupre as an introvert and a sensitive man.

Eamon called and said that diversity and multiculturalism are nice but only if those filling the jobs are qualified. He says bagman Barry Gotterer is currently an insurance lobbyist in Washington D.C. and may still be on the payroll of Mass Mutual. He is a close friend of Charles Kingston. Gotterer's former role at Mass Mutual is now filled by John Abbott, who has been selected to co-ordinate the Mass Mutual executive volunteers program at City Hall. Eamon had a good phone message today:

Cities either prosper and grow like Providence, Worcester and Northampton or stagnate and decline like Hartford, Holyoke and Springfield. The only reason Springfield is not in bankruptcy is that every time it runs out of money it keeps going further into debt on the backs of the taxpayers. In private business that can't be done. Seldom has a catastrophe so great involving financial mismanagement had such little consequence for those responsible for causing it. The last time a competent administrator ran for the office of mayor in Springfield was Roger Putnam 50 years ago.

February 14, 2004

26 degrees at 7:30am. Sunny. All gas at 16 Acres $1.59.

I hate bossy people. Don't should on me and I won't should on you.

This is Valentine's Day and National Condoms Day. Melinda's Valentine present was a Tower of London toffee tin and a little heart shaped box of chocolates, both of which I mailed to her.

The Central Library has a new phone number. My hearing is better in my right ear than my left, and for some reason I can hear TV40 better than TV22. There was an ad on WFCR this morning for The Republican. Timothy T. Collins is the president of the Springfield Education Association. Joe Velez arranged the Community Music School of Springfield's production of "Peter and the Wolf."

Went to the Big Y today where I bought the specials and at the checkout I won a blue coin for the first time. I have a mountain of silver coins. A sign at the entrance of Five Town Mall says KB Toys are closing. I've had this old commercial jingle in my head all day:

Use Ajax the foaming cleanser
Floats the dirt right down the drain
You'll stop paying the elbow tax
When you're cleaning with Ajax!

Yesterday was Eamon's birthday and I played Happy Birthday over the phone to him on my cloisonne bells. He said Landers likes to cook and made him a frosted cake. Landers' son Sean is in town and plans to go on a hostel tour of Europe this summer. Eamon thinks that the scandal over the Bishop must be selling a lot of papers and that Larry McDermott probably feels this is his ticket to a Pulitzer Prize. Antonette Pepe told Eamon that she was in Bruce Fitzgerald's office and a secretary came in with a letter Mayor Ryan was sending to all department heads and was asking Bruce to approve it. She said he barely glanced at it and said okay. Pepe also said that Ryan told her that the city's finances are worse than he ever suspected.

Yesterday there was a fuss in the media about Sen. John Kerry being sexually involved with some intern who was then sent out of the country. However today it has been shown to be groundless. But Eamon says several years ago there was a widespread rumor locally that while on a visit to Springfield Kerry had been surprised in the backseat of a car with a Springfield campaign worker. Eamon said he was never able to determine whether the rumor was true, although just the fact that such a story is circulating locally is interesting. Eamon says that most male politicians treat women like bank accounts: Put it in, take it out and lose interest.

February 16, 2004

34 degrees at 2am in my breezeway, which is closed but not insulated. This is President's Day.

Sen. Kerry won Nevada and now has 579 convention delegates. John Dean has 188 and Edwards has 166. Wesley Clark is dropping out of the presidential race and endorsing Kerry. Clark seemed like a gentleman but I never really knew what he stood for except that he was against Bush.

Physician Fred M. H. Ziter of Mercy Hospital is listed in the 1958 City Directory. Kevin Rhodes is the director of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra. Antique Roadshow had a section tonight on psychedelic posters. The ones they showed were worth $5,000 but I have never sold one for more than $100. They said a thumbtack hole in a poster can lower its value by 20 percent. Henry Winkler, the Fonz, was on TV Saturday morning wearing a sage green sweater. I was disappointed he wasn't wearing his motorcycle jacket.

Jack Hess called for the first time in a while and said he bought some Springfield postcards online, and that he discovered that the builder (not the architect) of Wesley Church was the same individual who built the Knox automobile plant. He told me he doesn't like the architecture of the new East Longmeadow Public Library and complained again about the attitude of the Wilbraham police.

Eamon called at 9:30am and said he had not had his paper delivered and Moore's Convenience store doesn't have any. He also checked at Cal's and they didn't have any either. It turns out the paper was having trouble with their new press. When the paper finally did come out it had a big article about the Feds raiding Frankie Keough's house in Rhode Island. A lot of local officials keep modest homes in Springfield while having lavish second homes in other states like Rhode Island or Maine. Of course one wonders how they afford these homes on their modest public salaries. Keough is a former City Councilor who has run the city's homeless shelter since 1994. His Springfield home is by Sumner Avenue.

Jim Landers told Eamon that he posted some transcripts from Eamon's phone messages on the Masslive Springfield Forum and they were quickly removed. Anything identified as coming from Eamon, even if he is not the one posting it, gets censored. Eamon was surprised to get a birthday card from Charlie and Joan Ryan. Eamon says he is confident Karen Powell will get a job.

Eamon ran into Mitch Ogulewicz at Gus & Paul's downtown. Ogulewicz told him that Mayor Ryan called and offered him a job as chairman of the School Building Committee (Bob McCollum's old job) but Mitch wasn't interested. Mayor Ryan told Ogulewicz that he was shocked when he discovered the real financial condition of the city.

Mitch Ogulewicz has sold his house on Bartels Street and is moving to a condo in Rockland, Connecticut near the bank where he works. Ogulewicz recalled how when Bill Bennett first ran for D.A. he repeatedly said that he only wanted to serve one term. Eamon said that Ogulewicz and Peter Jurzynski were the only ones who tried to fight corruption in Springfield in the 1980's, and in retaliation their political careers were destroyed.

February 17, 2004

24 degrees in the morning.

I think the kids of my generation were generally smarter than those of the present one and that is why we opposed the Vietnam War and they don't oppose the war in Iraq.

Eloy Perez is the manager of the Springdale Mall McDonald's. Roof work is being done on the original Grower's Outlet building on the corner of Wilbraham Road and Eastern Avenue.

Interesting column "Questions for Kerry" in the paper by George Will. Father Scahill of East Longmeadow was on TV22 accusing the Catholic Church of "stonewalling, denial and deceit" in its handling of the sex scandals. Larry McDermott had a column yesterday where he was angry at a former intern who criticized The Republican in the Columbia Journalism Review for buying a new press instead of hiring more reporters. McDermott said "the young man learned little or nothing about the basics of good journalism when he worked here." I wonder what the full story is.

Washing dishes and writing letters today. Called Gary Plant and told him I wanted to buy more of the Stusick archives if there is anything left. I'm afraid his sister's desire to burn the more private letters may have prevailed.

Eamon has lent me all of Linda Melconian and Charlie Ryan's campaign reports and they are quite interesting. Some wealthy people give very little and some give to both campaigns so they'll have influence either way! Angelo's Fruit Market charged the Ryan campaign $1,000 per month for the space next door to them. Of course listed as Ryan contributors were Eamon T. O'Sullivan and J. Wesley Miller.

Among the more interesting names listed as Ryan contributors were: Paul Sears, James H. Tourtelotte, Edna Ogulewicz, Antonette E. Pepe, Barbara J. Garvey, Janet M. Edwards, John J. Egan, Steve Hays, Kevin Sears, Peter Johnson, Russell Denver, Theodore Dimauro, Allen W. Blair, John Gormally, Marshall Moriarty, Ronald J. Abdow, Guy A. Cassanelli, Michael T. Kogut, Anthony Scibelli, Carlo A. Marchetti of Florida, William L. Putnam, Karen A. Powell, Rose Marie Coughlan, Patrick J. Markey, Rep. Cheryl Rivera, William A. Hurley, Joseph Napolitan, Leonard Collamore, Durham Caldwell and former Councilor Morris Jones.

Among the more intriguing contributors to the Melconian for Mayor campaign were: Donald E. Ashe, David M. Bartley, Stu Horowitz, Edward J. Keating, Mary E. Boland, Daniel M. Keyes, John J. Lyons, Peter Murphy, James D. Sullivan, RoseMarie Mazza-Moriarty, Anthony L. Cigoli, Peter Picknelly Sr and Jr, John Bonavita, Sean Cahallane, Emily B. Bader, Joseph Carvalho, Steven T. Clay, Charles D'Amour, Russell F. Denver (gave to both), Melinda M. Phelps, Peter Shrair, Daniel M. Walsh, William M. Christofori, Paul Kalill, Steven M. Roberts, Ronald J. Abdow (gave to both), Sen. Brian Lees, Rep. Stanley Rosenberg, Michael Walsh, Judith Matt, Donald Dowd, Rep. Fred Swan, Henry M. Thomas, Theodore E. Dimauro (gave to both), Martin T. Reilly, Heriberto Flores, Anthony Caprio, Anthony Ardolino and James J. Trelease formerly of the Springfield Newspapers.

February 20, 2004

27 degrees at 7am. Patty Hearst is 50 today.

Who says the U.S. can be trusted with weapons of mass destruction?

In the paper this morning it says a Wesley Donnell Miller of White Street in Springfield has died at age 31. Dined today at Ruby Tuesday where it turned out my waitperson was a tall fellow named Wesley. The salad bar was fresh and nice. When I departed I left a big tip and a note that said, "We Wesleys have to look out for each other. Have a nice life."

Got my first Arkansas quarter in my change. Susan Cogswell is Connecticut Insurance Commissioner. Any relation to Brad Cogswell of Monarch? The house at the corner of Aldrew is for sale again. Drove past the old Lakeside and it looks like they are turning it into a nightclub. Went to see Mrs. Staniski and she said Ann is coming this evening. I helped her fill out her Valley Advocate "Best of" ballot. She wanted to give me some cookies when I left but I declined and she said "I don't think I like you as much because you won't accept my cookies," but she was smiling.

Margaret Humbertson from the museum wrote me saying, "I'm very glad to add the George Giroux items which you sent to our collections." She also praised my postcard of Josiah Gilbert Holland's gravesite adding, "St Gaudens certainly created an elegant headstone for the "Dean of Springfield Men of Letters" and the accompanying information you provide on the back of the postcard is very enlightening, as always."

Bishop Dupre has hired a lawyer, Michael Jennings, who I'm told is a former law partner of District Attorney Bennett. Jacqueline Haskins Engel of Easthampton has a wonderful letter in the paper about the hypocrisy of gay priests preaching against homosexuality: "Housekeeping begins at home. A good starting point is with the closets."

Keith Korbut of the Duryea Transportation Society has a letter in the paper urging that the old Basketball Hall of Fame be turned into a car museum. Mayor Ryan has appointed restauranteur Rico C. Daniele and Milagros T. Rodriguez of the New North Citizen's Council to the Park Commission. Ryan was on the radio this morning saying that he is "grasping for nickles and dimes" to meet the city's expenses.

Eamon says he got a phone call from Nader the Hatter. He also saw the leather dealer Dick Feinstein who told him that the pedophile problem in the church is much worse in South America than it is here. Eamon currently has a very brave phone message saying that Mass Mutual has a reputation for doling out money to politicians and specifically names Gotterer, Abbott and Kingston as giving "cash filled envelopes that aren't reported on campaign finance reports." A very gutsy tape.

John Kerry won in Wisconsin with 40% of the vote. Dean is dead with 18% of the vote, even though he said earlier he would never quit. Dean had some good ideas but he came across as awkward and unpresidential. Kerry is the best of the dirty Massachusetts types but I wonder how prominent Mike Albano and other local crooks will be in his campaign. You can be sure Richie Neal will be trying to ride on Kerry's coattails to a plush Washington job.

February 24, 2004

35 degrees and sunny. Gas is $1.65 at the Pond.

The Bush dog Spot died today, leaving behind his pal Barney. Harry S. Truman said that if you want a friend in Washington buy a dog. Ralph Nader is running for president and the Democrats are mad. I say it's a free country and Ralph can do as he pleases. His 70th birthday was last week.

I went out at 3:22 and mailed some things at Lewis & Clark, and then over to the Boston Road Big Y where I bought enough canned vegetables to get a golden coin so now I have a complete set. I was surprised to run into Doyle the Twig Painter at the deli counter, looking very much like a street person but getting around and buying about as many groceries as I was. I said, "Hello there, Sir!" He turned and grunted hello but that was it. He is looking down and out but not as much of a mess as you might expect. Regardless of his appearance, Eamon says that Doyle is worth a good deal of money.

Headed up to the flea market in Holyoke, and on the way a guy zoomed by me through a red light in Mason Square. Robillard was there and tried to sell me some Springfield postcards but I said offer them to Hess first. I wasn't wearing my orange jumpsuit today. I bought a Springfield Brewery tray from young John Kelly for $40. Also for forty bucks I got an original dedication book for Springfield Hospital. Finally I bought two Perot for President buttons for a dollar apiece.

Eamon called and said his old friend Joey Greenberg who runs the pawnshop at the X on Sumner Avenue quit Fleet Bank because of all the fees they charge. Eamon spoke with Dr. Cohen in South Deerfield, a Dr. Seuss collector, and he told him that in 1927 Seuss left Springfield for New York City and returned to Springfield for the last time in 1986. Seuss died in 1991.

In the paper it says that a pellet from a BB gun shattered a window in the Children's Room at the Central Library. Joe Carvalho said if it happens again they "need to consider" installing bullet proof glass. Morning paper also says that Father Francis P. Lavelle of St Mary's in Longmeadow has been removed for sex abuse. He was a secretary to both former Bishop Weldon and former Bishop Maguire.

TV22 had an online poll showing that 80% believe the accusations against Bishop Dupre. The paper has reported that Bishop Dupre is being treated at St. Luke's Institute in Silver Springs, Maryland, an institution known for treating pedophile priests. Bishop Dupre's alleged victim has come forward because he said "he was moved to anger after the Roman Catholic Church and Dupre began a crusade against gay marriage in Massachusetts."

February 28, 2004

39 degrees, snow cover is thinning. Overcast in the morning, a raw wind in the afternoon.

Found a splotch of electric blue paint on my white garage door! Have I been marked for vandalism or something worse? I called Eamon and he said I should report it to the police. So I called promptly at 9am and an officer arrived within only a few minutes. I noticed his badge number was 63, which I told him was the same year I graduated from Colby. The cop said it was certainly an act of vandalism and probably done by kids. I suggested that since I'm a skinhead it might be a hate crime. The officer noted that a lot of cops are skinheads too so that people resisting arrest can't pull their hair.

I reported that I got home yesterday around 4pm and saw nothing, but I discovered the blue blotch this morning at 7am. I said I drove around the neighborhood but saw no other houses that had been attacked. My exchange with the cop was cordial and friendly and I thanked him for coming so promptly. Tomorrow I will go get a copy of the police report and will be on guard in the coming days for a pipe bomb or whatever else may be next.

Kerry won Utah, Hawaii and Idaho. Alan Greenspan is good but he won't live forever. Ted Kennedy gave a speech yesterday putting down Bush. Kennedy has mellowed into a wonderful public servant. Big story in the paper today about Cheryl Rivera coming out as a lesbian. No one was surprised.

Sarah Auchter Miller has been appointed a member of the Board of Directors of Goodwill Industries of the Springfield and Hartford Area Inc. Her father has served on the Board since 1952 and her grandfather was a founder of the Springfield Goodwill organization in 1925. I recently noticed in my archives a letter to the paper written in 1993 from a John R. Auchter titled, "United States is a Nation Under God."

WFCR says the roof leaks in the Hampshire House at UMass where they are located. Raymour & Flanagan outlets are far more prevalent in Connecticut than in Massachusetts. We have one in Springfield at 650 Boston Road in the old Topps.

Got my first Michigan quarter today. On TV they were discussing the signs of stroke and one of them was sudden dizziness. Mother complained of such symptoms towards the end and I wonder now if they were mini-strokes. Went to Newsstand to buy the paper and Mayor Ryan was on the front of BusinessWest magazine. As I was leaving an old man said to me, "Hello, Attorney Miller!" It was Frank Wapner who once owned the Cabrini place.

Back home Bob called from Tassanari Brothers saying that my 18th century papers had been bound. I went out there and the books were nicely done. I then drove down by Valley Cinema in East Springfield and dined at McDonald's on a Philly steak sandwich with a coupon. They are extremely greasy! I won't have another from them, but I might try the ones they're advertising at Friendlys. Stopped at the Pine Point Library and the parking lot was full but when I got to the door it was closed!

Dan Elias of TV22 was at the Silver Springs pedophile treatment center where Bishop Dupre is staying, showing the rear license plate of Dupre's car taken with a telescopic lens. I tried to call Mike Plaisance of the Editorial Department at the paper to praise him for their editorials on the church sex abuse scandal. Instead they referred me to Bill Zajac and he was very friendly and thanked me for my praise. When I got home I found that the paper had called giving me a four weeks free subscription starting March 15th. A coincidence?

Jim Landers closes tomorrow on the sale of his Miller Street property but he has to pay $18,000 in back taxes on it! Eamon contacted Efrem Gordon to discuss how his complaint was handled against the Springfield fireman Stephen F. Burke who threatened to burn down his house. Attorney Gordon told him, "It certainly appears clear that your rights as a victim were ignored." The case was disposed of by Judge David Ross without anyone ever contacting Eamon in any way.

Eamon talked to Dr. Tsai of the High School of Commerce and she is upset about the lack of response to her letter. He told her that Superintendents like Joseph Burke and Peter Negroni, with their inferior educational training and questionable degrees in the nebulous field of "education" couldn't carry her pencil box!

Unpublished Letter to The Republican
by Dr. Shiu-Fen Tsai

Imagine this scenario inside the High School of Commerce:

Friday, February 13th, the day before Valentine's, bouquets, balloons, chocolates, teddy bears and skippers were all over the hallways. Outside my classroom, a group of students hung out, kissed and fooled around. Some of them even threw themselves onto the window of my classroom door, making faces, sticking up their middle fingers and shouting obscenities. Most of the morning was like this. I called the office to report the chaos, but no one showed up to help. I opened the door and attempted to send the disruptive students away several times. This seemed to amuse them and provoked even more outrageous behavior, which excited them even more. Obviously, it was my Chinese accent. They told me to speak English and called me "Ching Chang."

Finally it was my lunch break. I was walking upstairs when a boy, with a hood and a dark robe covering his entire body and face approached. He looked like a character in the movie, "The Lord of the Rings." As he passed me, he shouted "f_cking Chinese." Then he ran down the hallway. I pursued him but was unable to catch up. Another student passed me and reported that my room had been blasted with raw eggs. I felt terrible. The first thought that came to my mind was that this was a hate crime, because of my Chinese background. I rushed down to my classroom only to find the custodian, Bob Mulcahey, kneeling down and wiping off the eggs dripping down the glass from the door to the floor. He told me that not only had my room been targeted. There were egg whites and yolks everywhere in the hallway, on the student lockers, on the walls and floor, and on the door of the attendance officer's office. It was a disgusting mess, Bob told me, shaking his head, but he also assured me that it was not aimed at me personally. I felt relieved, apparently, I was just being paranoid.

A moment later, in the same hallway, there was a loud bang. A fist cracked the window of the classroom next to mine into fine lines like a spider web. One teenager fled the scene followed by a small group of others. A Quebec officer and an assistant principal chased after them.

This was not an extraordinary day in the High School of Commerce. Nothing very different than previous days, except on this day there were fresh eggs. The day before, pepper spray in the boy's bathroom prevented student access. Last month, students in the halls repeatedly discharged fire extinguishers. A bulletin board was set on fire forcing school evacuation. The school was evacuated again when a girls room in the A building was set on fire. Small flames spring up all the time, so often that the school merely doused the fires and did not bother to report them to the fire marshal. Additionally, water fountains, bathroom fixtures and handrails have been ripped from the walls. One teacher on the first floor recently had his door kicked so hard that it cracked across the middle.

These events don't occur in isolation. Disorder is routine. A female student recently hit me as I was attempting to protect one girl from being viciously attacked by another. I have gone into the Principal's office to protest an administrator's disciplinary decisions. I sent a student who was striking a cigarette lighter in front of a bulletin board to the office. For two days, the administrator had taken no action because I had not provided an eyewitness. Ultimately, another eyewitness came forward, yet the punishment was minimal, in spite of a spate of fires. Of course, all my referrals for truants were left unattended due to "overwhelming problems in the hallway" as responded one administrator to my inquiry.

Superintendent Dr. Joseph P. Burke has categorized the situation at Commerce as a lack of communication between administrators and teachers. This year, some central office administrators and school committee members came to observe. They spent a few hours in the building as visitors. They suggested that the chaotic situation was the fault of irresponsible teachers. In fact, this is the message we constantly hear. A feeling of powerlessness overwhelms teachers. We have taken abuse that no professional should have to bear. Administrators continue to shift the blame for their inactivity onto teachers. As a teacher facing these issues daily, I am convinced that Commerce has serious problems with management. Unfortunately, teachers continue to be used as scapegoats.


Shiun-Fen Tsai, Ed.D


March 2004

March 1, 2004

Mild. 60 degrees in the breezeway at 1:49pm.

From time to time I see that the picture frames on my wall are crooked. I straighten them, and then after awhile I see that they are crooked again. So there must be tremors, probably caused by the traffic on Wilbraham Road.

Uncle George Giroux used to do work for Crompton & Knowles in Agawam. Prudential insurance agent Kenneth E. Spaulding of West Springfield died in September 1959. Pearl-Anne Margalit is Associate Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Springfield. Dominic Demarinis owns World Pawn and Loan on Sumner Avenue. He is a friend of Eamon's.

The Catholic Church now has a new excuse, claiming that their pedophile problem is part of "the larger children's abuse problem in society." They just won't admit that it has always been a problem with them. Today I called Richard Garvey at Allison Lockwood's Northampton number (19 Washington Avenue) and started leaving my message saying that Garvey has written about the Catholic Church in the paper in past years and I'd like to see him write about the current mess.

Suddenly Allison picked up and we had a friendly chat. She said she no longer goes to Rotary Club meetings in Springfield and her son has his degree from Princeton. I was told that she and Garvey are both trustees at the Forbes Library. She said Bisallion has left after 26 years, and I got the impression that she didn't think much of him. She informed me that she found some Sidney Bridgman travel books from the Forbes for sale in NYC for $200 apiece. I told her I hadn't been to the Forbes in ages and must go. She said she would tell Garvey to call me back but he did not.

Parked in the upper Police Department lot and went in and got my report. No hassle but a lot of waiting around. It reads:

Victim states sometime between 4pm on 2/27/04 and 9am an unknown subject shot his garage door with a blue paint ball. Very minor damage. Victim feels this was the sign of a hate crime. The Detective Bureau was notified. Reporting Officer Andrew McQuade.

While downtown I left things with Mary Moynihan for the Bishop and then left stuff with Sylvia for reporter Bill Zajac at the paper. Went out to Stanton's Auction but I made no bids and didn't stay long. Swung by Eamon's on the way back and his leprechaun flag was hanging out front. He told me Barbara Garvey's husband Jim had stopped by and returned some material Eamon had been asking for. When I got to Birchland Avenue I saw the Ciantra's out walking. Home at 4:32.

March 3, 2004

63 degrees at 3:46pm. Some cumulus clouds.

I am still in winter mode. Cooked up a Marie Callender blueberry pie. Came out nice, stuffed with berries.

In 1973 Governor Michael S. Dukakis signed a proclamation for Junior Grange Day as State Representative Edward W. Connelly of Agawam and Florence Bish of Feeding Hills looked on. Wilbraham cardiologist Dr. Hugo Cuadra was in his native Nicaragua recently for the elections there. He is Eamon's non VA physician and served Father until he died. Mother didn't like him.

Yesterday I was number 30 to vote at Alfred M. Glickman Elementary School in the Massachusetts Presidential Primary. A cop stood in the back of the polling place and the poll workers were complete strangers to me. There was no food offered. I voted on the Democratic ballot for our Senator John F. Kerry. As I left the lobby I noticed that the school Principal Kathleen G. Sullivan was in her office with a woman with a butch haircut who introduced herself as Nancy Laino. Sullivan greeted me cheerfully and I told her I liked the picture on her office wall. She asked how I liked her Tiffany lamp and I said I liked everything about her office. I asked about being a school volunteer and she suggested I contact Mrs. Purchase at the Guerena School. When I left from voting at 11:15 the mailman was parked on North Road.

I have finally finished the last of the maple syrup that was on hand when Mother died. A couple of bottles I gave to Mrs. Staniski. I have sent a blistering letter to Father Scahill telling off the Catholic Church. Told Hess about it and he said Scahill is a nice guy and I might get a reply.

Called Stanton Auction this morning and they said my foot locker of sheet music with art deco designs did not sell. Will try again in April. A woman called from Human Capital wanting to know if I wanted to subscribe. I thanked her for the free copies they sent and said I'm an editor who tries to read widely. But I told her that now that I know what their publication is like I don't need to see anymore. Then I called Storrowtown and asked if you can bring your own bottle of wine and they said no.

Arrived at the Jewish Federation of Greater Springfield on Dickinson Street and met Pearl-Anne Margalit, who has some sort of foreign accent. I said I would send her a letter about the paintball attack on my garage, as they are interested in documenting hate crimes whether Jewish or not. I visited their Holocaust Museum, which consists primarily of photo displays. Their resource library is full of books. Rabbi Sternberg was there looking very businesslike.

Eamon still gets up very early and called me at 7:37am. He has to go to a funeral service for a friend at Blessed Sacrament but doesn't know where it is. He complained that Catholic Church addresses are not in the phonebook. Eamon also complained that Mayor Ryan hasn't followed much of the advice he has given him since 1995, which is doubtless true, but Eamon doesn't realize that Charlie is afraid of him.

Then Eamon discussed his relationship with Amherst College. He said he donated letters to their archives and was going to leave them a lot of money. Then he looked at his transcripts one day and saw there were two errors. In an economics course they said he got a C when it should have been an B. He saw a similar error was made in a World History course. Amherst denied it until the dispute turned into a big fight that Eamon lost and resulted in Amherst College removing him from their mailing list. A sad story.

March 5, 2004

43 degrees at 6:45am. Overcast, snow is all gone.

Music washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.

John Edwards is out of the presidential race. Dean took the Vermont primary and Kerry won everywhere else. Martha Stewart and her broker were convicted on all counts. Dr. Seuss was installed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame today. The Quadrangle is having a day of festivities tomorrow for the 100th birthday of Dr. Seuss but I can't go. WFCR said today they have 147,000 listeners but only 14,000 contributors.

Marilyn A. Hannah of East Longmeadow graduated from STCC in 1987. In 1997 Patty Keiser was the friendly manager at the Goodwill store at 455 Breckwood Boulevard.

Spoke on the phone with Jan at Punderson Oil who told me that heating oil prices have come down to $1.49. She said she can remember when the price was 14 cents! Laser Colorcopy in the basement of the Tarbell-Waters building since the mid-1980's is closing.

The mail brought the proofs from Modern Postcard with extra charges for my Orange jumpsuit postcard. I called to complain and spoke to Sarah who hung up saying I was rude. I called back and got Norma Booth who cancelled the extra charge of three dollars.

Drove out to Pride and got the Valley Advocate and Springfield Republican. For the second week in a row the Valley Advocate had coupon inserts including one for Natural American Spirit tobacco and a rainbow swirly AOL 9.0 disk. Some weeks ago they had a pretty green disc. The Advocate seems to be going for coupon stuffing in a big way. There was nothing in the Advocate about the clergy scandal. Maureen Turner wrote a piece once but they seem more focused on the gay marriage issue.

Stopped at the Boston Road Big Y and bought Tapioca pudding and a couple of frozen dinners. There were two free sampling stations - broccoli soup in deli and apple pie in bakery. Got a gold coin at the checkout!

Went to see Irving Cohn to go over his archival material from the Massachusetts Millinery Manufacturers Association. I interviewed Mr. Cohn about his memories of his business, originally the Ware Millinery Company which eventually merged with the Lawrence Hat Factory in Chicopee. Cohn said he had no design department, he just saw what hats were hot sellers and copied them. He said he used to pay Kitty Broman to do endorsements.

At one point Mrs. Cohn came downstairs and we insisted she join us. Lenore may be a pretty sick lady but her mind is still sharp. She said she couldn't understand why I was interested in her husband's hat factory because the firm had failed. She said only things that succeed should be remembered. I asked Irving Cohn his reasons for why the hat industry declined. He blamed the church for saying that women didn't have to wear hats to church anymore and that the old style hats posed a problem getting in and out of cars. Then their housekeeper arrived and I had to go. When heading back home I encountered the widow Vickers leaning on an aluminum cane going to her mailbox. She said she has not felt well since Gilbert died. A very sweet woman.

District Attorney Bennett intends to turn Bishop Dupre's sex case over to a grand jury and William Welch from the Feds is going to help on the matter. Eamon called and said Antonette Pepe and her husband are taking him out to dinner. He complained that Ryan is appointing too many of the same old people and fears that Ryan may turn out to be a weak mayor.

March 7, 2004

47 degrees at 7am. Sunny, some clouds. Gas at Minimart/Sunoco at Breckwood is $1.71.

Charles and Princess Di was a fairy tale that turned out not to be true.

Grainfield's Whole Grain Raisin Bran does not have many raisins in it. Busted one of my eyeglasses today. I never liked those glasses anyway because the lenses were made of glass, not plastic and very heavy so they were always sliding down my nose. Paintball splotch on the garage door is fading.

Real to Reel had reporter Terry Hegarty doing a story on the Holy Name Society honorees Carmen Massmamet, Carl Croteau, Keith Arsenault and Paula Brunault for being such good Catholics. There was also a story about the 75th anniversary breakfast for Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church on Boston Road. They said 400 attended, which was more than expected. Steve Kiltonic did a story on the District Attorney and former Bishop Dupre.

Heading out today there was an anti-gay marriage demonstration in Mason Square. All the protestors were white. I stopped and checked out 1640 Wilbraham Road which is for sale. The paved driveway was badly cracked up. Selling for $80,000 it reminded me of Tom Devine's old house except Tom's didn't have a garage or a paved driveway like this house.

Arrived at the Storrowtown Tavern on the Big E grounds at 11:10. In the far end a wedding party was in progress. While waiting for Melinda I met Donald Calvanese, who works there and has just completed a novel which he showed me. I immediately spotted some typos but said nothing. I told him how to make a copyright notice and he seemed grateful.

Then Melinda McIntosh arrived and we were seated. She told me she had never been to the Storrowtown Tavern before. I told her that I was surprised that a prime piece of livestock like herself was still single and she replied, "I like living alone." She says she works in the library's archive department and can't wait to retire so she can start enjoying life. She hates to think of her girlfriend who died before she had a chance to retire and have some fun. Ms. McIntosh informed me she is originally from Rutland, which I told her is the drug capitol of Vermont. Her father was a retail worker and she majored in French in college. Melinda also plays bagpipes in the Holyoke Caledonian Band. She said Bishop Dupre blessed the band a few years back at the parade. She knows dealer Donald Schimke because she collects postcards.

I ordered some Harvey's Bristol Creme for myself but Melinda said she doesn't even drink coffee. We both ordered chicken pot pies which had large chunks of chicken, whole baby carrots, peas, celery and mushrooms. For dessert we had the fudge nut ball. Melinda says she thinks Senator Kerry is "not a good person" to be president because he was too friendly with Springfield Mayor Mike Albano. I told her I thought President Bush is stupid and she told me that she has Eisenhower earrings from the 1950's. A Republican? We left and I paid the bill, which came to $34.02.

March 9, 2004

Overcast and frost on the ground at 6:30am. Mickey Spillaine is 86.

Secretary Tommy Thompson says there's an obesity epidemic. How about a stupidity epidemic? Maybe the stupidity epidemic caused the obesity epidemic!

O'Donnell's Package Store was at 417 Main Street in Holyoke in 1964. In 1964 Feinstein Leather, owned by Samuel B. Cotzen, was at 193 High Street in Holyoke. In 1964 A. Steiger and Company had a store at 259 High Street in Holyoke. In 1964 William Dwight was the President and Treasurer of Holyoke Transcript-Telegram Publishing Company. In 1969 Morris Dane was a certified public accountant working out of 175 State Street in Springfield. In 1969 the lawyers Edward B. Cooley, Sidney M. Cooley, Max C. Abrams, David A. Shrair and Maurice Belsky practiced at 95 State Street. Henderson Funeral Home is one of only two primarily black funeral homes in the area.

Called Mrs. Staniski who said Ann is going to Argentina and I mentioned I'd like it if she got me some postcards. She said Carol's youngest son is at UMass majoring in engineering but he doesn't like all the math. Jack Hess called and thanked me for my photos. He said he once had lots of copies of Springfield: Present and Prospective which he sold for $10 apiece. Now he sees them selling online for $75 each.

I see in the paper that the Rev. Dr. Melvin G. Williams of Wilbraham, Chairman of the English Department at A.I.C. has died at age 66. I am sending a condolence card even though I didn't know him because I admired his multifaceted work and did know his wife Marcie a little. A letter in the morning paper complains that the unveiling of the Dr. Seuss stamp should have been held in both Springfield and California instead of just in California.

Drove down to the Quadrangle today. The museums were closed but the gift shop was open. Very fancy copperwork and eaves but not much merchandise for sale, just some science crafts and the same old Dr. Seuss postcards and no others. I asked the woman behind the counter whether they ever intend to sell local postcards. She replied that people from all over ask for Dr. Seuss postcards but no one ever asks for Springfield ones so she doubts they'll get any.

Then I walked over to the library and saw that the light fixture over the circulation desk is still broken. The obelisks on either side of the Rice Hall door are back. Most of the computers in Wellman had somebody working on them. A black security man was sitting around talking on his cell phone. In where the tables and maps used to be in Rice are a couple of ugly easy chairs and two tables with chess games on them. There was a Pakistani woman of about 18 playing chess with a muscular steelworker type in his thirties. It was nice to see someone appreciating the chess games.

Hershel on TV40 tonight announced that the new Bishop is a 60 year old generic Irishman from New York, Timothy A. McDonnell. May be a good soul but not a Scahill by any means. Father Scahill was on saying he hopes the new Bishop has "the heart of Christ and the spirit of inclusion of the Vatican reforms." Good for him. The Catholic spokesperson Mark E. Dupont was also on. The new Bishop seems to me like a weak episcopal candidate but likely to be popular with the Irish population.

Eamon's telephone messages have been critical of Charlie Ryan for weeks now. He says Ryan is hiring the same old people for his financial team and appointing people from the minority wards 1,3,4 and 5 with low qualifications so he can get re-elected in 2005. He also said that at Commerce nobody does any teaching, the kids just watch television and play computer games all day. Eamon says Trade/Putnam is a dump because the city has not made repairs and just let it go. The roof is bad but instead of fixing it they are using it as an excuse to build a whole new school.

Tonight Billy Graham was giving a sermon on TV and told a story about a son who wanted a car for his graduation. Instead his father gave him a Bible, causing the son to angrily throw the book on the floor and storm out of the house, never to return. When his father died many years later the son went to the funeral and afterward saw the Bible sitting on a shelf in his parent's house. Taking it down he opened it, only to discover there was a check inside for the car he had wanted. A real tearjerker. I decided for fun to call downtown to the gay bar called The Pub and when a gruff voice answered I said, "Billy Graham is on Channel 40. Tune in so maybe some of the priests down there will get some religion!" They hung up.

Letter to the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum

My Dear Ms. Maggie Humbertson,

When is the last time you wore a hat? Our mutual friend Bill Nader "The Hatter" tells me that there aren't many millinery archival collections. So I am pleased to present you with the enclosed material. While none of the establishments involved were ever located in Springfield, the owner of one of the manufacturers (Lawrence-Ware Company) was Irving P. Cohn, my neighbor down the street at 75 Birchland Avenue.

Mr. Cohn and his wife Lenore have several children, one of whom (Myra) was in the same class as me at Buckingham. For many years he served as the librarian of the principal Jewish library in town and his wife served as the Director of the Mayflower Senior Center at the Wachogue Community Church. He says when he started in the hat business there were about 25 hat manufacturers in Massachusetts. Now there are none. Cohn's business migrated from Ware to Three Rivers to Chicopee. Enclosed you will find a medley of documents. Of special interest are two checks signed by Kitty Broman, a Phil Shepardson letter and a thank you note from Erica Broman. Have fun and send me a thank you note which I'll copy and give to Mr. Cohn.

J. Wesley Miller

March 10, 2004

35 degrees at 6:15. Sunny and mild.

Capitalism is very imperfect. For those who succeed there are great rewards, but for the little people nothing. This is something that even National Public Radio doesn't get because NPR itself is a capitalist tool.

Bay State Hats was located in Holyoke, Massachusetts. MBC was a modeling agency on Scarsdale Road in Springfield in the 1960's. I have so many wonderful books that I have not read that I am pretty much going to stop buying books.

On the Catholic Church program Real to Reel they had a segment about how Charlie Ryan was given an award by Holy Name School, which he once attended. They said he has thirty-four grandchildren! They also had a segment on the new Bishop. A memorial notice in the paper today for Eamon's brother Patrick M. Sullivan, the fire chief who died in 1995: "Sadly missed by Mary, children and grandchildren."

Nine Mile and Spec Pond still have some ice on them. Stopped at St. Catherine's to pick up their current literature. Then stopped at the Eastfield Mall and bought a new atlas of Western Mass because my 1974 one has become too outdated.

Registrar of Deeds Donald Ashe had his annual St. Patrick's Party today at the John Boyle O'Reilly Club in Springfield. It costs twenty bucks a ticket. I arrived at 4:46 and saw Don Ashe himself going in the door as I drove down Progress Street looking for a parking place as the parking lot itself was already full. Ashe is the quintessentially superb Irish politician and this particular event has been going on for 22 years. Surely no one thinks Ashe will have any trouble being re-elected.

I saw Azell Murphy Cavaan from the newspaper taking notes. Right inside the door was a long table with a flat cake with a leprechaun, a rainbow and the smiling face of the new Bishop - no, just kidding - the usual pot of gold. I had some absolutely delicious Irish bread with raisins served by an old woman in a green coat. Corned beef sandwiches were served on rye and I saw one man help himself to three of them! I had to wait at the bar while the bartender went into the back room and came out with a bottle of vodka.

I sat alone at the most remote table and listened to the band "The Bards" which consisted of two guitar players and an old man in a wheelchair sawing away at a violin. One of the lyrics were "When New York was Irish, we controlled City Hall." I clapped at the end of their song but nobody else did which struck me as rudely unappreciative. However one of the guitarists turned to me and smiled. In front of the stage there was a lectern fronted by a Celtic cross and a plaque in memory of Christopher M. Sears.

Two Colleen girls were there with ribbons and lots of green, white and orange balloons were bobbing on the ceiling. I dressed completely in black and had my Hillary Clinton "As Bad as She Wants to Be" button on. I saw no other political buttons or literature, which surprised me. I thought there would at least be stuff from the Kerry for President campaign, but nothing.

Attorney Marshall Moriarty arrived in a brown suit and I told him I had been by his building recently to see Efrem Gordon. I also saw my old Sealtest milkman. City Councilor Dominic Sarno always says hello. Councilor Bill Foley came up and shook my hand, then told me he is behind Mayor Ryan 100%. Councilor Timothy Rooke I can't stand, although he has improved since the days when he worked for Richie Neal and was so surly and arrogant. Councilor Jose Tosado was there as well as District Attorney Bennett who talked at some length with Moriarty. Sheriff Michael Ashe laughed at my Hillary button but didn't invite me to his clambake. He has never thanked me for the picture I took of him. On the way out I told Donald Ashe that it was a superb event and that he gives fair value for the $20 you have to plunk down to attend.

March 13, 2004

40 degrees on the breezeway at 2:50pm. Raw and overcast, somewhat depressing.

Caring is essential to a healthy community.

Xerox, a great name in trash. Had some of Belle-Rita Novak's plum and strawberry preserves this morning and they are absolutely delicious. As I recall Phil Shepardson was a local TV personality who was sometimes the weekend weatherman. He always struck me as condescending. A story on TV40 today described Sci-Tech High as "housed in an old office building." So that's what they call what is left of the legacy of Monarch Life: "an old office building."

Albert S. Circosta of East Longmeadow has a great letter in the paper today praising Father Scahill. Turns out that The Rev. Dr. Melvin Williams died of unexpected complications from surgery. He had no intention of retiring from AIC, where he taught English for 43 years. Death sometimes catches us by surprise.

Had the man from A.B.E. Chimney of East Longmeadow over this morning. My chimney is leaning slightly and he will rebuild it and clean the flu. Named Mike Andrukonis, he said he is Lithuanian by birth and lived in Poland until he was twelve. He said he will complete the job in one day. The company motto is "We go to Great Heights to Serve You." Founded in 1981. They did the Whalen House at Amherst College and did work for Bay Path.

Bought some green grapes at the Big Y where a salesman for the Republican was offering a coupon booklet if you bought a subscription. Went to an appointment with my dentist Peter J. Duplessis. He has a lovely fish tank in his waiting room with little yellow fish and something purple that hides in a coral castle and peeks out occasionally. The dentist said my teeth are fine, which cost $66.

Arrived at the Expo Gun Show in West Springfield at 10:52 and there was an enormous crowd there. Parking was $3 and admission to the gun show was $8. It was mobbed. Hoped to see some anti-Bush literature like the anti-Clinton material they had when I went several years ago, but there was nothing. The gun show itself was a zoo. No blacks. Some Latinos. Cops, of course. Skinheads. Old men in uniforms with walrus mustaches and sleazy hoodlum types. A real zoo. I saw Gene Kearns from Sandisfield up by Otis and he sold me a steel engraving by Whistler. Peter Hammond was selling World War II postcards. Didn't stay very long. When I came home, two little dogs of different breeds were running along the side of Wilbraham Road, no sign of anyone supervising them. Loose? Lost?

Eamon called and said that when he makes his telephone recordings his biggest challenge is to make his message fit into the time allowed by the answering machine. He has written a letter to Ryan criticizing his lack of modern fashion. I told Eamon to lay off Mayor Ryan and let him do his own thing. Eamon mentioned the photo of Barbara Garvey in this week's Valley Advocate. Eamon said Garvey's maiden name is Italian and she is friendly with Antonette Pepe. Garvey's husband was a lineman for Western Mass Electric.

Jim Landers has been on the Atkins diet for several weeks and has lost 40 pounds. He eats no potatoes, no cake, no bread, no pasta and lots of fruits and vegetables. Eamon said that he and Landers took a ride through Atwater Park, where he said the Pellegrino family has three houses all close to each other. Atty. Raipher Pellegrino has a new TV commercial, very glitzy. Eamon complained that Karen Powell used to call him every week but she hasn't called in a long time. He said Tom Devine was on the Ogulewicz radio program recently and he still appears regularly on The Tony Gill Show.

March 15, 2004

46 degrees at 9:44am. Cloudy, a dusting of snow last night. Gas $1.69 at Island Pond Road.

The world is overpopulated. Life is too cheap.

There is a new girl at Fleet Bank named Karen McCormack. The quality of coverage in the Springfield Republican has improved considerably in recent weeks.

Eamon is critical of Mayor Ryan for not going without a salary. He claims that Governor Romney is an owner of Staples and the state is getting all their paper supplies from them.

In the Valley Advocate this week Group Publisher Janet Reynolds announced some lay-out changes, including adding "more white space." Does that mean fewer articles? Also Maureen Turner is now listed as "Senior Writer." What does that mean?

I called Karen Powell to see what she knew and we had a good chat. Karen said that the new title for Turner is because she has cut back to spend more time with her kid. We also discussed the decline of Doyle the Twig Painter. She said Ryan spoke to her about a job that may materialize for Karen in July. I said her husband Bob deserved a high paying position for going all out for Ryan during the election, but she said he's happy doing what he is now. She doesn't know whether Eamon was ever considered for a job, she hasn't networked with anyone lately. She did say that Tom Devine is still living in Amherst and working at UMass. She said he doesn't drive because prior drunk driving issues would make his car insurance prohibitively expensive.

Next Jack Briggs called and was very diplomatic and friendly. He said all checks will be "digitized" from now on so they won't be returning my used checks. I told him to keep my checks, as they will become collectors items later if not sooner. We chatted and he told me he is 61 years old, grew up in Attleboro and attended Bryant College. He also lived in Providence for a while.

Then I called ex-rep Fred Whitney, who said he is always glad to hear from me. He said his wife "has seen better days." He also said his son has had two operations but still gets around some. Whitney said he listens to Eamon's answering machine messages every so often. He told me he is "disappointed" in Bush and is afraid that the U.S. Constitution will not last another thirty years.

I went over to Eastfield Mall where I bought a Beefeater Cow figurine for Melinda McIntosh and then to the Big Y for hash and grapes. What used to be Williams Spa is now called Stop & Buy. The house on the corner of Wilbraham and Rochelle is being fixed up. There is scaffolding all over the front of the very old building on State Street across from STCC with the awards company in it.

Stopped at the Freedom Credit Union on Main Street where the Senior Service Representative is Margaret Scagliorini. Stopped at A.G. Edwards and was waited on by John J. Sullivan, a large aloof man who seated me at the director's table. I asked about Smith & Wesson and he said he doesn't know anything about the company and doesn't own any of it himself. I said I would buy 25 shares, just enough to get me into their stockholders meeting. Mr. Sullivan predicted, "That'll get you in." I wrote a check and departed. Drove past Handy Self Storage on Congress Street. They are where Malox was before it was scared away by the threat of a baseball stadium being built there.

Headed up to Eamon's house but he wasn't home. I left one of my Pynchon Medals I picked up at auction in a bag wrapped around his back doorknob. Then over to Ruby Tuesday for the salad bar. When I got home Eamon called and thanked me for the medal. I told him to make a necklace out of it and wear it around his neck.

March 18, 2004

Temperature first thing was 35 degrees. A couple of crocuses are coming up close to the house.

This week is the one year anniversary of the war in Iraq. John Kerry says we are "bogged down in Iraq with no end in sight."

The law offices of Roden & Casavant are at 115 State Street in Springfield and at 330 High Street in Holyoke. Linnia Anna Phillips, widow of Scott Phillips, has died at age 90. Scotty Phillips, who died in 1995, was the supply department guy at Monarch, but the obituary makes no mention of it. The ranks of the old Monarch Life Insurance people are thinning.

Eileen Curran and Jack O'Neil are promoting this Sunday's St. Patrick's Day parade coverage on Channel 57. Last night Mike Dobbs of The Reminder was on Watercooler with John O'Brien of Rock 102.

The Reminder this week has another tacky essay by East Longmeadow Superintendent of Schools Dr. Edward W. Costa which has his usual spelling, grammar and logic errors. I left a scathing message with Costa's secretary Beverly and one with Buendo and Dobbs at The Reminder. One of the Buendo brothers quickly called me back and said he got my message. He spoke of Costa with some contempt and thanked me for my input. Then he asked about the land I am donating to Wilbraham and said to send him a press release when it is being dedicated.

I went over to the Cooley Big Y and bought a corned beef sandwich for $3.99. It had two slices of Swiss cheese on it and was okay. I ate it in their dining area and seated to my left was a black Big Y employee eating a veggie pizza. When he left I looked over and he had left his plate and a pop bottle in the middle of the table instead of disposing of it in one of the litter recepticals. So I went to the manager, a good looking guy named Mike in a tan suit who reminds me of Peter Johnson, and told him about it. He instantly knew who I was talking about and said they have some "special needs" employees from the School Department and Victor is one of them. He said he will speak to him. A very pleasant and professional exchange.

This afternoon I got on I-91 and then up to the Coolidge Bridge, which is still under reconstruction. Soon I arrived in Hadley at Melinda McIntosh's Morningstar Drive home, a pale grey Cape Cod with white trim and a two car garage in an upper-middle class subdivision of newer custom built houses. Conveniently located near where she works. A cute house for a cute lady who is not hard up (librarians make respectable money). I left the Beefeater Cow to the left of the garage door in a green box I chose for St. Patrick's Day.

Then I headed out to Sunderland to the Pioneer Auction. On the way the sun breaking through the clouds bathed UMass in sunlight. At Pioneer I dropped off some postcards with Joe and Pete to give to Bruce Smebakken. While there I bought some modern local postcards of Old Deerfield from a collection by John Comins. I also bought some old matchbooks of Ware Savings Bank, Ware Co-Operative Bank and one from the Southwick Shopping Center Cantell's Supermarket, a raspberry matchbook with a plaid Top Value Stamp elephant on it. Back when I was at Colby I used the Top Value elephant, drawn in pink magic marker, for my pink elephant liberal Republican campaign. I asked and found out my album of old Mikus bellringer pictures brought only sixty dollars. I was hoping for a hundred. The Stanley Stusick condolence book brought only $25.

Eamon said that Karen Powell called him. He also spoke with Jay Sullivan down at the Department of Education in Boston about school construction costs in Springfield. Eamon told me Dr. Tsai of Commerce lives in Sunderland. She dropped off a letter about the dismal conditions at Commerce with the Springfield Republican but then took it back when they said they wouldn't print it. They said they'd like to quote her in a possible article about Commerce but she refused, saying she was afraid they'd misquote her. She told Eamon that when she first came to America from China she dreamed of all the freedom she would have here but is surprised by how timid Americans are about exercising their rights. She cried, "Why don't people speak up?"

March 21, 2004

Spring arrived at 1:49am EST. 37 degrees and overcast at 10am, small snow flurry at 1:44pm. Gas at Cumberland Farms opposite Liberty Methodist Church in Liberty Heights only $1.64.

Beauty is truth, and truth is beauty.

I believe that someday the world will wake up and all the banks will be empty because of some genius computer hacker. Cokie Roberts on NPR: "This is going to be a long and nasty presidential campaign." My friend Elaine Wajda Lavoie was on the news last night.

There is a Blanche Street in Aldenville. The Sunday Republican isn't worth a buck-fifty. In 1955 I bought Guy McCoy's "Portraits of the World's Best Musicians" (Presser 1946) from Popular Science for 99 cents. I looked at every picture and that is how I learned about Emil Karl Janser. A book that is perpetually useful and I treasure it. Bill Draper of Gill, Mass called offering to sell me some historic local photos for $400. I said I'd think about it and contact him in a few days.

Starting in earnest on spring cleaning and hope to do some raking this week sometime. Watched the St. Patrick's Mass at St. Jerome's on TV. Former Bishop McGuire performed excellently. The homily appeared to borrow some lines from the Billy Graham TV show that was on the other night. Rev. Thomas Callahan and Rev. Daniel Foley assisted McGuire. Jack O'Neil narrated for TV viewers. Then at noon they began broadcasting the St. Patrick's Parade, again with O'Neil. Didn't spot Melinda among the Caledonian marchers.

Eamon called and said that Sen. Linda Melconian and Rep. Cheryl Rivera had been feuding over Rivera's support of Ryan but have now made up. He said Dr. Shai of Commerce has her PHD in languages from Columbia University. Her husband is an engineering consultant. He spoke to Kathryn Wright of the McKnight Neighborhood Council on Catherine Street. She believes the city should force the Urban League to give the Mason Square Library building back.

March 23, 2004

29 degrees, windy and raw, sun in and out.

Pick up pennies.

This year's Pynchon Awards winners - the Pioneer Valley's highest honor - have been announced. They are cancer survivor Lucia M. Guiggio, community activist Carl G. Erickson and Rabbi Jerome S. Gurland. I deserve a Pynchon Medal for "Conspicuous Service in Exposing What is Going on Around Here."

I called Donald Lynch at United Bank and told him about the grammar error (omission of a verb) in their recent mailing. I said they should hire me as their grammarian for $50 per hour. He declined but thanked me for my feedback. The mail brought a note from John Rixon. I must write him. When I went to UPS to make copies William Metzger was there, his mannerisms still youthful. We said nothing to each other.

Picked up Mrs. Staniski at eleven on the button to go out to lunch. She gave me a bag of cookies she had just made and several Harvard publications from Ann. She is in Buenos Aires until next Sunday when she comes home. Ann calls her mother every night and Carol calls every morning. She told me that when Ann was a girl and didn't want to practice her music lesson she'd tell her she could either practice or clean the bathroom. I mentioned that on the news on the way over they said that Israel had killed the founder of Hamas. Mrs. Staniski said that years ago she heard a professor at AIC say there will never be peace in Israel.

On our way to eat I saw a bumpersticker on a Connecticut car in front of us that said, "So Glad to Have Voted for Bush." Several big oaks cut down at 58 Sherwood. Old Urban League building has a Dollar Dreams sign on the front and the old Mason Square Library has a sign reading "Urban League of Springfield Inc." I drove through downtown so that she could see the Boland statue and the renovation work underway at the Civic Center. Jefferson Market at the corner of Jefferson and Chestnut is all boarded up.

We went to Home Town Buffet in West Springfield. On the door there were white letters saying "Jason Reed/General Manager and Proprietor." That is Carol's son who married an older black woman. I thought Jason might come out and treat us to a free meal, but no sign of him. I asked and they said Jason wouldn't be coming in until 3:30. I got chicken and broccoli and Mrs. Staniski got chicken and mashed potatoes. For dessert we had ice cream and after we ate I drove her straight home.

James W. Asselin and James F. Krzystofik pleading guilty is the banner headline in the morning paper. They ran a racket called "The Jimmy Fund" that stole $600,000 from the Hampden County Employment and Training Consortium for lavish vacations, real estate investments and their own "consulting" firm. They both previously worked at City Hall in the Community Development Office.

On the evening news Mayor Ryan called for ward representation. Good for him. Eamon's latest tape says ward representation is a good idea but that Ryan used to oppose it and is only supporting it now to butter up the minority wards. Eamon called and said he has been posting on Masslive.com's "Springfield Forum" under the name "Firinne" which is Irish for "Truth." He said he posted excerpts from his recent telephone messages and got positive responses from readers. In the past he has tried to post his messages under his own name and they have censored him immediately. He read me what he posted and I could tell by the use of Eamon's favorite phrases that he wrote it, but the Masslive editors don't know him as well as I do.

March 24, 2004

40 degrees at 9:30am. Sunny, mild, tulips starting.

Elegant Affair of Springfield is the exclusive caterer for the Springfield Jewish Community Center. Bookseller Janet Edwards was on WFCR and in the paper as being opposed to porn filters on computers because she says they restrict free speech.

Elite Paintball on Route 20 in Westfield had a commercial on TV this evening. A couple of Saturdays ago I found a blue paintball blotch on my garage door. I called the cops and notified the Anti-Defamation League and I'm not going to let it restrain me from speaking out on any matter I feel an obligation to speak out on.

I cleaned the pink room (parent's bedroom) and brought the Eastlake chairs onto the breezeway. There was a white panel truck for C.J. Carpentry and Construction over at Colleen's today. She is getting a new garage door. 151 Birchland Avenue is getting new siding.

Went to the Big Y for some Ocean Spray Raspberry-Cranberry Juice and also bought some coldcuts for $2.49 a pound which is one third off. I bought an olive loaf and baloney, but both were extremely salty.

Eamon's latest phone message praises Ryan as an old dog able to learn new tricks for switching to support ward representation, but he still claims it has to do with improving Ryan's standing in the minority wards in the next election. Eamon also called for term limits. According to Eamon the most dangerous schools in Springfield are Chestnut Alternative, Bridge Street Academy, Springfield Academy, Commerce, Sci-Tech and Putnam.

Bishop Dupre is now before a grand jury for molestation charges brought by two parties who have also filed civil suits, while Father Lavigne is being investigated for murdering Danny Croteau, who probably threatened to rat on him. I am a Protestant and on Saint David's Day I delivered to the Catholic Diocesan office photocopies of all the juiciest anti-Catholic passages I could dredge out of my library. They haven't responded yet telling me to get lost but when they do, I'll frame it.

At Harvard I lived on 90 cents a day in order to spend my money on books. At the University of Wisconsin I collected 50,000 pieces of street literature. Today I have a 15,000 book library in my house. I'm listed in two international directories of book collectors. When I buy a book I stamp my name several places in and on the book, especially pages with 69 in their number. This increases the value of the books because they become associated with items that once belonged to the eccentric bibliophile J. Wesley Miller.

Some are saying that Donald Trump has made such a mess of his casino and hotel businesses that he ought to fire himself! They say in real life Trump frequently goes ballistic, and that his merely confident firings on TV are unreal because too moderate. I put out a placid, teddybearish front but when I get mad I get furious. A tantrum is sometimes necessary to make the communication noticeable, memorable and most of all, marketable. I've been banned from Western New England College, a bank closed my account on me and the local paper won't print my name. There are people who don't like me and I like that just fine.

March 25, 2004

47 degrees at 11:45am. Raw, overcast.

I gave $500 to the Seuss Sculpture project, although we should honor other Springfield creative artists, not just Seuss. There is an obituary in the paper today for a John Wesley Herring (1955-2004). He was a machinist who belonged to the Church of Overflowing Love. Also there was an obit for Dr. Alan S. Peck, a portly gentleman with whom I once sat at a Caron breakfast. He was born in Montpelier and was a graduate of Harvard and McGill.

Mike Andrukonis and an assistant named Damian in a Seattle Seahawks sweatshirt came over with a crew to replace my leaning chimney. Mike told me he graduated from Westfield State in 1976. They did a good job and left only a small amount of litter behind. While they were here Mrs. Penniman came by and asked Mike if he would give her an estimate on what it would cost to fix some damage to her house caused by raccoons. Total cost of my chimney repairs was $2795. When they left I gave them each an orange and a bottle of Harvey's Bristol Creme.

When the show Watercooler first came on someone named Jim Lash came on saying he was the producer and asking us to send in suggestions for future guests. I've been meaning to call and suggest they have Eamon and myself on, so I called today but the receptionist said, "Mr. Lash no longer works here." So I asked who is the producer of Watercooler?" She replied Jim Madigan and Keith Clark. Madigan I recall appearing as part of the coverage of the St. Patrick's Parade in Holyoke last Sunday. I will contact him. Last night the guests on Watercooler were GOP activist Mary J. Caplin, Chris Collins of WHMP and media consultant Paul Robbins. They talked about terrorism, with Collins predicting that there will be a terrorist attack by Election Day. Host Susan Kaplan disagreed. They also talked about charter schools, which bored me.

A big story in the paper about six workers at a government child care center being fired in the North End for incompetence and corruption. Eamon says he knew about it three days before the paper printed anything about it. The CEO is Michael Denny and he is the brother-in-law of Rep. Cheryl Rivera. All kinds of money is going into the North End thanks to Cheryl so what does she know about this scandal? Eamon told me that Mayor Ryan left a good natured response on his answering machine to his message about Ryan flipping on ward representation. "I know," Ryan said laughing about his past opposition, "I remember!"

Meanwhile Eamon has been very active all week on the Masslive Springfield Forum under his new pseudonym "Firinne." He says posting on Masslive helps him "cut the high fog index" around local issues. Jim Landers is also on using the name "Jake". Eamon is flattered by all the praise his comments are getting, some people are even urging him to run for mayor! So far no one has guessed his true identity.

March 27, 2004

54 degrees at 11:30. Sunny most of the morning, gas $1.69 at Mobil.

General William Westmoreland is 90 today but not the more than 50,000 boys he sent to their graves.

My Smith & Wesson stock went up $1.70 yesterday! The Calvin Coolidge Bridge in Northampton is almost done but the restoration cost twice as much as planned because of more extensive deterioration than expected. Original estimate was 15 million but it will be 30 million in the end.

Eamon is calling around Boston to see what he can find out about the city's finances. Eamon says Billy Shwartz who died recently gave a lot of money to American International College and was a perpetual student there. He also told me that he has never received a reply to anything he has ever sent to District Attorney W. Bennett.

Started the day by going to a tag sale at the Church of the Acres. Melinda McIntosh was there and thanked me for the Beefeater Cow I left at her house. I asked her to lunch but she said she couldn't today as she had to play bagpipes later, she said they do about ten concerts a year. I bought a nicely framed little lighthouse painting by Brian Roche.

Continued to Walmart to have some film developed and spotted a mail truck parked on the shore of Five Mile Pond. Next I drove down to the AIC Shea Library for the free handouts. Then I stopped in the Square to check out the old Mason Square Library now owned by the Urban League. The blue scroll on the front saying the building is a gift from Anne Curran is still there. The main library area is now completely taken over by the Urban League, although the public computers are still in front. Not really open yet but a woman said they will be having an Open House soon.

I then walked across the street to Dollar Dreams in the building the Urban League was in before they stole the library and which I recall was a Stop & Shop in my childhood. It has an L-shaped parking lot and is loaded with stuff all for a dollar - hardware, flowers, grocery items, everything. It is a fabulous new asset for Mason Square.

Arrived at the Quadrangle at 1:21 and parked in the lot next to a truck for Dave Rose Wood Floor Specialist of Monson. Friday is free admission day for library card holders at the Quad museums. There were plenty of security guards around, talking and joking with each other. The Natural History museum looks good. Gone are the stuffed birds but the dioramas in the front hallway remain. The pendulum at the top of the front stairway is gone, but the marble is discolored by its long presence there.

Next I went to the local history museum to learn whether Margaret Humbertson got my material from Mr. Cohn's hat factory. I poked my head into the genealogy room to see if Humbertson was in there but the Irish genealogist was sitting at her desk wearing brown leather slippers. A large burly security guard shouted at me, "Sign in over there!" It was an order. I responded, "Why don't you say, "Would you be so good as to sign in over there?" The security guard grumbled something and retreated. Only one other patron besides me was in the genealogy room. The Irishman in slippers recognized me and quipped, "Attorney Miller! If my trumpet were here I'd sound it!" He told me that Humbertson had the day off but I could leave a note and he would deliver it to her.

Finally I went to the Museum of Fine Arts. The Wheeler Gallery was closed and they were replacing the flooring. The snack bar was also closed. The contemporary gallery had a group of Winslow Homer prints. The art museum should play classical music softly in the background. They also have a new exhibit of classical antiques. There is a lot of small to medium-sized marble sculptures of nudes, many of them with no heads. I wrote in their comments book, "On with their heads!"

I decided to walk through the library where the clock in the rotunda is still wrong by four minutes. Along came the tall fellow who used to work at the Forest Park library and deposited some music books on the free book shelf, mostly crummy paperbacks but I took a few. Then I rode the elevator down to the Children's Room and spoke to the attendant about my memories of the room from when I was a child. She offered me a plastic bag for my music books, which was thoughtful of her. Home at 3:02.

March 30, 2004

39 degrees at 6:50am, cloudy and cooler. Gas is $1.69 at Sunoco on Breckwood. Tom Devine's house at 106 Breckwood Boulevard was built in 1943.

Sen. Eugene McCarthy is 88. Alistair Cook has died at 95. Alice R. Ruddock of Feeding Hills has died at age 85. I knew her daughter Judith from Wesley Church. Judy sometimes got teased because she had buck teeth but I heard life turned out well for her. Harold J. Flavin has died at 82. He worked at the reference desk at the City Library downtown until 1985 and I remember him as the loner type. I never suspected he was a published poet. His obituary is impressive and he belongs on any list of important Springfield writers. I notice that he asked that memorial contributions be given to the Litchfield Library in Connecticut and not the Springfield Library.

In 1965 Eleanor L. Shea was the Society Editor for the Holyoke Daily Transcript/Telegram. WFCR this morning told about the Dawson land gift in Hadley, where a three acre strip on the Connecticut River was given as an environmental preserve. Dan Elias on TV22 today goofed when he told us about a bomb squad sent to "the Hampden County Courthouse in Northampton." Northampton is in Hampshire County. TV22 had a story about a meeting at DeBerry School about the stealing of the Mason Square Library. I spotted Frank Buntin, Reggie Wilson and Elizabeth Stevens. No mention of Kathryn Wright. They declared that they would bring back the library to Mason Square. Amherst passed a $2 million tax override. Atty. Saperstein on TV40 talked about employment discrimination where they don't fire you; they do things to make you feel so bad that you have to quit to escape unbearable conditions.

Mother insisted on keeping half a dozen fence posts on the garage floor and they collected dirt and leaves and chipmunks brought in nuts, etc. I finally threw them out today, completing a task I've intended to do since Mother died. One time Mother was driving through downtown with Aunt Maria Giroux who sputtered and complained so much that Mother asked her if she'd like to get out of the car. Aunt Maria screamed that yes she wanted to get out so Mother let her out and drove away. About ten minutes later Mother came back to pick her up and Aunt Maria was still standing on the corner where Mother left her. Aunt Maria was prone to tantrums and was frequently irritable when we took her for rides to Vermont.

Stopped in at the Municipal Employee Credit Union and got one of their current posters from a portly older man named Gary which I wanted because it has a sketch of their building on it. They are located opposite Duggan Middle School near the telephone building and in front of the liquor store and cinema which was formerly Big Y.

Went downtown and saw they are putting new gutters on the building on the corner of State and Walnut. The former Jim Dandy on the corner of Allen and Abbott is undergoing major renovation. I parked on Eliot beside the rectory and walked down to the courthouse. I checked the Giroux Estate file and got the docket for it off of the newly installed computers. Efrem Gordon's female colleague Carrie was there and cheerfully greeted me. Then over to the Mayor's Office but saw there was already three people waiting to see him so I just waved to Michelle Webber and went to the Election Office to fill out the form to switch from Republican to Independent (or unenrolled as they call it now). When I left I noticed two stickers pasted on City Hall: "Support Your Local Skateshop" and "George, Tony - Where Are Iraq's WMD's?"

When I got home Mrs. Allard and her daughter were out and we chatted briefly. I told her I think that the Catholic Church has known what was going on with their predator priests for years and Mrs. Allard exclaimed, "Absolutely!" She said the Catholic Church says one thing but does another. Powers is putting new shingles on his house. All the old brown shingles have been scraped off and a truck in front of his house reads Leslie Nadeau Home Improvement.

Got a nice letter today from Maggie Humbertson thanking me for donating Mr. Cohn's hat factory archives to the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum. Bill Nader called and I told him about interviewing Irving Cohn about his hat business. Nader said he is coming up from Florida in July and that Dorothy didn't go to Cannes because she was sick. Then Eamon called and said he rode out to Sunderland Saturday and had lunch at Amherst Chinese. He said he got stuck in an awful traffic jam on the way home, it took him an hour to go a mile through Chicopee. I told him Nader called and he said he has heard nothing from him. Eamon is singing a song on his latest phone message about "The old grey Mayor ain't what he used to be...."